Ben Harkness and Jo Pickles
At a time when Indonesia is in international news headlines with more terrorist bombings, bird flu, rioting over petrol price increases and the shooting of bombing mastermind Azahari, it is easy to overlook young people, Indonesia’s most vibrant social segment.
Young people are famous for being open to new ideas, for experimenting with fads and creating and following fashions. They look beyond social roles, think differently to their parents and introduce social change.
Indonesian youth have frequently played pivotal roles in Indonesia’s journey as a nation. Beginning in 1928 with the Youth Pledge, to the student-lead push for the resignation of President Suharto, the energy of young people has often provided a significant driving force behind social and political reform.
But what does it mean to be young in today’s Indonesia?
Contributors to this edition look at the way young Indonesians express themselves, enjoy themselves and discover themselves. Youth culture in Indonesia is full of enthusiasm, dynamism and contradiction. It is sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, noughties style.
We see the dangerous and the daring side of life. Joanne Dowling reveals the excitement and mayhem of Jakarta’s illegal drag races. And Jo Pickles delves into the underground lifestyles of Jakarta’s railroad junkies in her discussion of heroin addiction.
Uttu leads us through the capitalist conundrum of the alternative youth fashion scene, a scene that once prided itself on political subversion. The popularity of chick-flick-teen-pics has put girl culture back on the silver screen, but Hapsari Sulistyani questions whether young female protagonists challenge or conform to gender roles.
We hope this edition brings out the youth in everyone.
Ben Harkness (email@example.com) is a graduate medical student at Sydney University and Jo Pickles (Joanna.Pickles@anu.edu.au) is a masters student at the Australian National University. Both are guest editors of Inside Indonesia.